The doors may only have been open for a few weeks, but the industry has been quick to support our newest trucking museum.
The Macmillan Dictionary defines a museum as a building where many valuable and important objects are kept so that people can go and see them.
But in the case of the recently opened MOVE (Museum of Vehicle Evolution) facility in Shepparton, Victoria, this definition only scratches the surface as the ‘important objects’ – the trucks on display which are lined up for all to see – also have their own stories to tell and a history which deserves to be acknowledged.
Opened in August this year MOVE, along with the other exhibits and displays is a celebration of all things trucking in the Goulburn Valley and beyond, and with the region having such a high dependency on road freight is ideally situated to showcase the early days of road transport through to today.
The MOVE facility itself is a story of evolution, having its origins back in 2012 as the Shepparton Motor Museum which was developed by local businessman Jim Andreadis.
In 2017 the ball started rolling on a truck element to the museum, as Peter Hill, executive officer of MOVE explained.
“A group of local trucking identities had been thinking of building a truck museum. John Kreskas from Kreskas Brothers Transport spoke to Jim about the rich history of trucks and transport in the GV and he was very interested,” said Hill.
“We gauged the interest from the local trucking fraternity, and it was absolutely incredible that on a concept they were prepared to donate a considerable amount of money, we then went to government where there was a couple of funding streams available.”
With the funding secured from the local community and across all levels of government the overhaul and construction began in 2019.
The project hit a hurdle in 2020 with Covid, and the subsequent delays only saw the project completed and open for visitors in August this year, only to be shut down again due to a local outbreak. Once the doors opened again the response from the local area has been overwhelming, and with Melbourne coming out of lockdown in the last few weeks, the future looks promising.
The main truck hall is set up as a walk-through of ‘Local Legends,’ with trucks on display and their company history detailed on easy-to-read banners.
In keeping with the ‘evolution’ theme, the trucks found here are diverse, from an original unrestored 1927 Chevrolet tip truck which was the foundation of the Mawson’s Contracting operation based at Cohuna, through to a restored International ‘Butterbox’ ACCO, the first new truck purchased by Bill and Chris Rendevski in 1970, through to a current day Kenworth T610 owned by Leocatas Transport of Tatura.
A point of difference to other museums is that the vehicles are all privately owned, with many local families having a spot within the museum to display their vehicles and history.
“We do not own anything here – everything here on display is loaned, which gives us the ability to change things around quickly,” Hill explained.
“The Avenue of Legends is secured for five years, and families can put whatever they like in that spot. There is another area where we will rotate interesting trucks through, and the interest has been astounding.
“There’s a lot of stuff out there with a story to it such as the Ristovichis Mack Super-Liner, which is an iconic truck and the first Kenworth that was sold in regional Victoria by Graham Thompson to the Phillips family in 1978.”
Development in the display areas is ongoing with interactive touch screens and video of people telling their family and company stories being produced currently and audio tours are also being looked at in the future. A Kenworth T610 truck simulator, donated by PACCAR has been also set up for younger visitors to take a look through the windscreen around the Shepparton area.
Corporate support for the project has been strong, with organisations such as Kenworth and CMV Truck and Bus getting on board, and with its ease of access and large display areas also lends itself to a range of other transport-based activities.
Whilst the Shepparton and Goulburn Valley transport scene is a focus of the collection, MOVE is open to anyone who might wish to be involved, and with the building having been constructed to allow for easy expansion of its display areas, it would seem that this will be on the agenda in the near future.
“Our local area is about a 60 kilometres radius, but we are happy to welcome anyone who wants to display here – if someone is from Toowoomba or Perth we don’t care – it’s not a Shepparton-centric thing,” added Hill.
“I don’t think it will be too long before we are filling in our other area and putting more displays in there, based on the interest we have having,” he continued.
Aside to the truck pavilion, virtually anything associated with transport is on show at MOVE with a wide array of historic and muscle cars, motor bikes and automotive memorabilia, including a reproduction of a local BP service station.
Further displays of two-wheeled history is found in the Farren Bicycle Collection, whilst the famous Furphy water cart, which had its origins in Shepparton in the 1860s is also the focus of another display area. The MOVE precinct also houses the Loel Thompson Clothing Collection along with the Dick Clayton collection of Gramophones, radios, and telephones.
From its start-up phase through to the current exhibition space and display areas, and with passionate people such as Peter Hill directing the project, MOVE has the right formula to become a world-class drawcard for all people with an interest in transport.
“The want of the board was to make it something that people would want to travel over from all of Australia (and) there is some unbelievable history here – the response has been incredible. We are really excited in anticipation of how this will go.”
MOVE is located on the Goulburn Valley Highway at Kialla and is open every day from 10am to 4 pm. Further information including admission prices and exhibitions can be found at www.moveshepparton.com.au